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Windows Server System


The Windows Server family takes the best of Windows 2000 Server technology and makes it easier to deploy, manage, and use. The result: a highly productive infrastructure that helps make your network a strategic asset for your organization.

Improvements to Windows 2000
Windows Server includes all the functionality customers need today from a Windows server operating system to do more with less, such as security, reliability, availability, and scalability. In addition, Microsoft has improved and extended the Windows server operating systems to incorporate the benefits of Microsoft® .NET for connecting information, people, systems, and devices.

Server Roles

Windows Server is a multipurpose operating system capable of handling a diverse set of server roles, depending on your needs, in either a centralized or distributed fashion. Some of these server roles include:

  • Web server and Web application services.
  • Database Server
  • Mail server.
  • Streaming media server.

This product overview explains the basics of the Windows Server family and includes links to more detailed information.

Benefits of the Windows Server Family

Windows Server delivers four primary benefits:

Benefit Description
Dependable Windows Server is the fastest, most reliable, most secure Windows server operating system ever offered by Microsoft. Windows Server delivers dependability by:
  • Providing an IT infrastructure that delivers fundamental value: improved reliability, better availability, and increased scalability.
  • Including an application platform with built-in traditional application server functionality on top of extensive operating system capabilities.
  • Integrating an information worker infrastructure that helps keep business information secure and accessible.
Productive Windows Server provides the tools that simplify deployment, management, and administration and maximize productivity.

Windows Server does this by:
  • Providing flexible tools that help match your design and deployment to your organizational and network needs.
  • Helping you manage your network proactively by enforcing policy, automating tasks, and simplifying updates.
  • Helping you lower support overhead by letting users do more on their own.
Connected Windows Server provides an extensible application platform for quickly building solutions that keep employees, partners, systems, and customers connected.

Windows Server does this by:
  • Providing an integrated Web server and streaming media server that helps you quickly, easily, and securely create dynamic intranet and Internet Web sites.
  • Providing built-in services that help you easily develop, deploy, and manage XML Web services.
  • Providing the tools that enable you to connect XML Web services to internal applications, suppliers, and partners.
Best Economics When combined with products and services from the many Microsoft hardware, software, and channel partners, Windows Server provides the choices that help you get the greatest return on your infrastructure investments.

Windows Server does this by:
  • Providing ease-of-use and prescriptive guidance for complete solutions that enable you to quickly put technology to work.
  • Helping you consolidate servers by taking advantage of the latest hardware, software, and methodologies to optimize your server deployments.
  • Lowering your total cost of ownership (TCO) to realize a fast return on investment.

Windows Server Core Technologies

Windows Server contains core technologies that build on the strengths of Windows 2000 Server to deliver a superior and cost-effective server operating system. Learn about the many new features and technologies that make Windows Server an ideal server platform for organizations of any size.

Windows Server has the reliability, availability, scalability, and security that make it a highly dependable platform.

  • Availability.  The Windows Server family provides improved availability through enhanced clustering support. Clustering services have become essential for organizations deploying critical e-commerce and line-of-business applications, because they provide significant improvements in availability, scalability, and manageability. Clustering installation and setup is easier and more robust in Windows Server 2003, while enhanced network features in the product provide greater failover capabilities and high system uptime. The Windows Server family supports server clusters for up to eight nodes. If one of the nodes in a cluster becomes unavailable because of failure or maintenance, another node immediately begins providing service, a process known as failover. Windows Server also supports network load balancing (NLB), which balances incoming Internet Protocol (IP) traffic across nodes in a cluster.
  • Scalability.  The Windows Server family provides scalability through scale-up, enabled by symmetric multiprocessing (SMP), and scale-out, enabled by clustering. Internal tests indicate that compared to Windows 2000 Server, Windows Server delivers up to 140 percent better performance in the file system and significantly better performance in various other features including the Microsoft Active Directory® service, Web server and Terminal Server components, and networking services. Windows Server scales from single processor solutions all the way up to 32-way systems. It supports both 32-bit and 64-bit processors.
  • Security.  Businesses have extended the traditional local area network (LAN) by combining intranets, extranets, and Internet sites. As a result, increased system security is now more critical than ever before. As part of the Microsoft commitment to reliable, secure, and dependable computing, the company has intensely reviewed the Windows Server family to identify possible fail points and exploitable weaknesses. Windows Server provides many important new security features and improvements including:
    • The common language runtime.  This software engine is a key element of Windows Server that improves reliability and helps ensure a safe computing environment. It reduces the number of bugs and security holes caused by common programming mistakes. As a result, there are fewer vulnerabilities for attackers to exploit. The common language runtime also verifies that applications can run without error and checks for appropriate security permissions, making sure that code performs only appropriate operations.
    • Internet Information Services 6.0.  To increase Web server security, Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 is configured for maximum security out of the box. IIS 6.0 and Windows Server provide the most dependable, productive, connected, and integrated Web server solution with fault tolerance, requesting queuing, application health monitoring, automatic application recycling, caching, and more. These are among the many new features in IIS 6.0 that enable you to conduct business securely on the Web.

Windows Server has capabilities in numerous areas that can make your organization and employees more productive, including:

  • File and print services.  At the heart of any IT organization is the ability to efficiently manage file and print resources while keeping them available and secure for users. As the network expands with more users located on-site, in remote locations, or even at partner companies, IT administrators face an increasingly heavy burden. The Windows Server family delivers intelligent file and print services with increased performance and functionality, allowing you to reduce TCO.
  • Active Directory.  Active Directory is the directory service for the Windows Server family. It stores information about objects on the network and makes this information easy for administrators and users to find, providing a logical, hierarchical organization of directory information. Windows Server brings many improvements to Active Directory, making it more versatile, dependable, and economical to use. In Windows Server 2003, Active Directory provides increased performance and scalability. It also allows you greater flexibility to design, deploy, and manage your organization's directory.
  • Management services.  While computing has proliferated on desktops, laptops, and portable devices, the real cost of maintaining a distributed personal computer network has grown significantly. Reducing day-to-day maintenance through automation is key to reducing operating costs. Windows Server contains several important new automated management tools, including Microsoft Software Update Services (SUS) and server configuration wizards. Managing Group Policy is made easier with the new Group Policy Management Console (GPMC), enabling more organizations to better utilize the Active Directory service and take advantage of its powerful management features. In addition, command-line tools let administrators perform most tasks from the command console. GPMC is available as a separate component.
  • Storage management.  Windows Server introduces new and enhanced features for storage management, making it easier and more reliable to manage and maintain disks and volumes, backup and restore data, and connect to storage area networks (SANs).
  • Terminal Services.  The Terminal Services component of Microsoft Windows Server builds on the solid application server mode in Windows 2000 Terminal Services. Terminal Services let you deliver Windows-based applications, or the Windows desktop itself, to virtually any computing device—including those that cannot run Windows.

Windows Server contains new features and improvements to make sure your organization and users stay connected:

  • XML Web Services.  IIS 6.0 is an important component of the Windows Server family. Administrators and Web application developers demand a fast, reliable Web platform that is both scalable and secure. Significant architectural improvements in IIS include a new process model that greatly improves reliability, scalability, and performance. IIS is installed by default in a locked-down state. Security is increased because the system administrator enables or disables system features based on application requirements. In addition, direct editing support of the XML metabase improves management.
  • Networking and communications.  Networking and communications has never been more critical for organizations faced with the challenge of competing in the global marketplace. Employees need to connect to the network wherever they are and from any device. Partners, vendors, and others outside the network need to interact efficiently with key resources, and security is more important than ever. Networking improvements and new features in the Windows Server family extend the versatility, manageability, and dependability of network infrastructures.
  • Enterprise UDDI services.  Windows Server includes Enterprise UDDI services, a dynamic and flexible infrastructure for XML Web Services. This standards-based solution enables companies to run their own internal UDDI service for intranet or extranet use. Developers can easily and quickly find and reuse the Web services available within the organization. IT administrators can catalog and manage the programmable resources in their network. With Enterprise UDDI services, companies can build and deploy smarter, more reliable applications.
  • Windows Media Services.  Windows Server includes the industry's most powerful digital streaming media services. These services are part of the next version of the Microsoft Windows Media™ technologies platform that also includes a new Windows Media Player, Windows Media Encoder, audio/video codecs, and Windows Media Software Development Kit.

Best Economics
PC technology provides the most cost-effective chip platform, a considerable economic incentive for adopting Windows Server 2003. But that is only the beginning of the story. Windows Server provides the best economics for both scale-up and scale-out purposes and provides an IT infrastructure that runs 30 percent more efficiently. With multiple essential services and components already included in Windows Server 2003, organizations can quickly benefit from an integrated platform that is easy to deploy, manage, and use.

When you adopt Windows Server 2003, you become a part of the global network that has helped make the Windows platform so productive. This network of global services and support provides the following benefits:

  • Extensive ISV ecosystem.  Microsoft has a huge number of independent software vendors (ISVs) worldwide who support Microsoft applications and build certified custom applications on the Windows platform.
  • Worldwide services.  Microsoft is supported by over 450,000 Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers (MCSEs) worldwide, plus vendors and partners.
  • Training options.  Microsoft offers a wide range of IT training, enabling IT staff to continue developing their skills at a reasonable price.
  • Certified solutions.  Windows has thousands of certified hardware drivers and software applications from third-party ISVs, making it easy to add new devices and applications. In addition, prescriptive guidance from Microsoft Solutions Offerings (MSOs) helps organizations build proven solutions that help solve difficult business challenges.

This ecosystem of products and services reduces TCO, helping your organization be more productive and efficient.

XML Web Services and Microsoft .NET
Microsoft .NET is deeply integrated into the Windows Server family. The .NET Framework enables an unprecedented level of software integration using XML Web services: discrete, building-block applications that connect to each other—as well as to other, larger applications—via the Internet.

Integral to the Microsoft platform, the .NET Framework provides the ability to quickly and reliably build, host, deploy, and use secure and connected solutions through XML Web services. The Microsoft platform provides a suite of developer tools, client applications, XML Web services, and servers necessary to participate in this connected world.

These XML Web services provide reusable components built on industry standards that invoke capabilities from other applications independent of the way the applications were built, their operating system or platform, or the devices used to access them.

With XML Web services, developers can integrate applications inside enterprises and across network boundaries with partners and customers. This advance in computing—opening the door to federated collaboration and more efficient business-to-business and business-to-consumer services—can have a significant potential impact on revenue. Millions of others can use these components in varied combinations to produce highly personal, intelligent computing experiences.

Other .NET benefits in the Windows Server family help application developers to:

  • Leverage their existing investments. Existing Windows–based applications for Windows Server run on Windows Server and can be easily repackaged as XML Web services.
  • Write less code and use the programming languages and tools they know. Windows Server features built-in application services, such as Microsoft ASP.NET, transaction monitoring, message queuing, and data access.
  • Use process monitoring, recycling, and built-in instrumentation to provide reliability, availability, and scalability for their applications.

All of these benefits are in the improved Windows Server application platform